Protect Your Home From Break-ins During the Holidays
This year’s holiday season promises to be as busy and wonderfully hectic as ever — shopping and gift-giving, decorating and celebrating with friends and family. Unfortunately, it’s an equally busy time of year for home burglars.
Nearly 400,000 burglaries occur in the United States during the months of November and December, according to the FBI. The National Crime Prevention Council recommends homeowners take extra precautions to protect their homes during the holidays because of the many home invasions at this time of year.
“During the holidays, homes are often filled with expensive gifts, the good silver is out and people are in a festive mood — they aren’t thinking about home security the way they should,” says John Heppner, president and CEO of Fortune Brands Storage and Security, including Master Lock Company LLC. “In addition, the busy holiday pace of parties, shopping and events leaves many homes dark and empty more often than at other times of the year. Whether homeowners are out or just asleep upstairs, the spoils of holiday-timed thefts are just too tempting for many burglars.”
A few proactive measures and common sense can prevent your holiday season from being wrecked by a break-in. Follow these tips and enjoy a safer and happier holiday season:
• Remember that nothing is more effective at deterring a burglar than the impression that the home is occupied. Make it look like it is by installing timers on your lights.
• Store valuables like jewelry in a secure place. A home safe can be a great option for storing various valuables including important home and family-related documents.
• Keep your garage door closed at all times. Garage doors are a favorite point of entry for burglars. Keep the door from your garage into your home locked as well.
• Be sure that your trees and shrubs don’t hide windows and doors. Blocked entrances can make it easier for burglars to get into your home unnoticed by neighbors and passers-by.
• Leave spare keys only with trusted family members or neighbors you are close to. Do not hide them outside.
• Be certain that tools, ladders and other objects that could be used to break into your home are securely locked up inside the house.
Break-ins can be easily avoided by taking the proper precautions. So be prepared, make wise decisions and relax. While the holidays can be stressful, by following these tips, you’ll find yourself more at ease and ready to celebrate the season.
Karen Nakamura is executive vice president / CEO of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii.